Anderlecht manager Besnik Hasi has given departing striker Aleksandar Mitrovic a glowing reference.
The 20 year old Serbian international arrived at Newcastle Airport on Sunday afternoon and is expected to complete his medical today.
Despite losing his star asset (and according to reports this morning his second top player, Chancel Mbemba) to Newcastle, Hasi says that there is no way he could have asked his bosses at Anderlecht to try and keep Mitrovic:
“I couldn’t have asked my management to keep Mitrovic, it would be bad management to refuse such an offer.
“In addition, the player wants to play in a major championship and I can understand that.”
Hasi also says that people shouldn’t be fooled by the forward’s looks, with the haircut and tattoos distracting some from appreciating a great work ethic from Mitrovic.
“With tattoos and the funny haircut he may look crazy but he’s not, he is hard working and somebody who gives everything in every single challenge, plus he’s constantly improving.”
However, just like any centre-forward it is all really about just one thing:
“His main quality is scoring goals (26 in all competitions last season) – give him the ball in the box and it is in. Sometimes you might not see him for 80 minutes and then he gets the ball and scores.
“Over the course of the last two years (moved from Partizan to Anderlecht in Summer 2013) he has improved a lot. Last season he took a major step forward both in terms of football and mentally, plus he’s also now physically stronger.”
Both the Anderlecht manager and his soon to be former star player do know that the Premier League is a major step up in quality but he thinks that the 11 matches Mitrovic has played in the Champions League over the course of the last two seasons, have shown that he can mix it with the best:
“He knows England is not Belgium and that players are stronger and the game is quicker. However, he showed in the Champions League that he can perform in tough matches and stay calm and focused.
“Newcastle is a big step forward and I hope he will play regularly, he can score goals and become a top striker but first of all he has to settle as a good scorer.”